Thursday, November 13, 2014

Author Love: Jon Agee

An author whose work I've noticed and started following within the following year is one of Lukka's favorite picture book authors, Jon Agee. His quirky books and humorous word play is contagiously clever and fun to read aloud. The last book I picked up was The Retired Kid, about a kid who has literally had it with being a kid. He was sick of the piano lessons, if you will, and decided to head to a retirement community in Florida to live out his days in enjoyment. 

I can see you smirking across the computer screen, as well you should. This new retiree does everything a stereotypical 70 year old would do in Florida, including golf. Pretty soon he realizes he misses those mundane 'kid things', even the boredom. 

In another favorite Agee picture book, The Other Side of Town, a little space-like man gets a taxi drive to keep driving through the intricacies of what looks like New York City, to "the other side of town", a side that we humans have never seen, nor could have imagined existed under our very noses! 

Jon Agee's illustrations are very soft colored, and they seem simplistic at first, but I've come to realize that Agee is a master of edit. His pictures are simple, though quite often the backgrounds can be complex, full of imaginary characters, odd out-of-place items, and he moves the story along with undertone humor in the language and the drawings. 

My son loves his books, and whenever I pick up a new one at the library, he's eager to have me read it to him. Very often, he's laughing out loud throughout the story. These are not long stories, so they are great for bedtime. Wouldn't you want to read a story about who Santa was as a kid? Or how about a funny book called "Smart Feller Fart Smeller: and other Spoonerisms". I want to read a book about spoonerisms! Jon Agee's books have finger on the hilarity parents delight in from a picture
book, and the wacky and imagination that kids demand in the books they want to hear read. 

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